Ferrari Portofino offers the best of both worlds in open-top supercar ownership
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A weekend test drive of the new Ferrari Portofino on the twisty back roads of Alfonso and cool and breezy Tagaytay beckoned. The Portofino is named after one of Italy’s most postcard picture perfect towns, a beautiful tourist port on the Italian Riviera. This half-moon shaped seaside village is peppered with very quaint pastel colored homes, shops and hotels lining up the shore and its harbor is home to many super yachts and is rich with marine life.
Launched in Manila last October, the Ferrari Portofino had its world debut a couple of years ago at the Frankfurt International Motor Show. Ferrari has aptly chosen this moniker for this versatile drop-top perhaps as a testament to the beautiful town known for its sun-kissed boats and yachts and mix of old world charm, beautiful Italian design sensibilities and modern engineering. So it was no surprise that the launch color used in the world debut was in Rosso (red) Portofino color.
The price for admission for the Portofino qualifies it to be called an “entry-level” Ferrari, since it is the most “affordable” model currently in the line up. But the specs, performance and value is by no means entry level. The 3855cc V8 engine propels the Portofino from 0 to 100 kph in just 3.5 seconds and to a top speed of 320 kph. It is currently Ferrari’s most powerful drop top with a 600 ps rating and maximum torque of 760 Nm. Comparatively speaking, Ferrari’s flagship top-of-the-line 599 GTB model produced just over a decade ago, had a massive 5999cc V12 engine rated at 620ps and can sprint from 0 to 100 kph in 3.2 seconds, just a bit faster than the so-called entry level Portofino and its top speed is just about the same as well.
The Portofino’s lightning quick performance, retractable hardtop, roomy boot and generous cockpit space makes it a very desirable tourer for short out-of-town trips. Its two rear seats however, are probably best suited for very small children or a place to carry handbags or gym bags. The Portofino’s impressive performance is thanks to an all-new chassis that features a significant weight saving over the California T it replaces.
Using modern production technologies, the chassis and body-in-white components have been redesigned with a consequent reduction in weight despite an increase in torsional rigidity. The Portofino uses the renowned Ferrari V8 turbo engine. The engine was nominated International Engine of the Year in both 2016 and 2017. It’s about 10% more powerful than the previous generation model California T’s power unit thanks to the adoption of new components and specific calibration of the engine management software. The characteristic Ferrari V8 exhaust note has also been further enhanced and can truly be fully appreciated in top-down driving.
The Portofino’s dynamic characteristics have been completely revised and for the first time on this type of Ferrari model, it uses the third generation electronic rear differential (E-Diff3). The E-Diff has been adopted and integrated with the F1-Trac, to improve both mechanical grip and the control of the car when driven on the limit. It is also the first GT in the range to be fitted with electric power steering, allowing the engineers to reduce the steering ratio by 7% for even more responsive steering without a trade-off in stability.
The Portofino was penned at the Ferrari Design Centre, and the result was a very aggressively-styled tourer with a two-box fastback configuration. This is unprecedented considering it has a retractable hard top (RHT), adding to the car’s sleek and sexy silhouette. The top has been totally redesigned and can be opened or closed in just 14 seconds even while on the move at low speeds. With the top closed, the driver and passenger can enjoy the cocoon-like security and reduced cabin noise of a coupe.
Inside, the driver and passenger is treated to modern day luxuries and connectivity. A 10.2” touchscreen is used for its infotainment system, allowing highly customizable configuration of the car’s essential features including an 18-way power seat position adjustments, climate control, and other connectivity features.